Sweet Home Alabamaaaaa… Where the pucks are dropped!
Alabama is primarily known for its southern warmth and hospitality. But… Did you know that The Yellowhammer State is also home to two professional ice hockey teams?
In fact, pro hockey started in Alabama back in the 70s! The Birmingham Bulls were the first professional hockey team in Alabama. They joined the World Hockey Association in 1976 and played until 1981.
Fast-forward to 40+ years and Alabama still has pro hockey and other high-level hockey teams! In this article, I’ll show you what pro hockey teams are in Alabama and what college and junior teams compete in the state.
Pssssst! Are you curious about hockey teams in other U.S. states? You can learn more by checking out our other posts: What Hockey Team Is in Florida, What Hockey Team Is in Mississippi, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In Alabama:
While Alabama doesn’t have an NHL team, they do have two pro hockey teams: The Birmingham Bulls and Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). Their top D1 college hockey teams are the University of Alabama – Huntsville and the University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa.
Does Alabama Have a Hockey Team?
So, what is Alabama’s top hockey team?
Alabama has several ice hockey teams. However, they don’t have an NHL team.
The top hockey team in Alabama is a tie between two lower-level professional hockey teams: The Birmingham Bulls and Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).
The top college hockey teams in Alabama are the University of Alabama – Huntsville (NCAA Men’s D1) and the University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa (ACHA Men’s D1).
Does Alabama Have an NHL Team?
Wondering if you’ll find an NHL hockey team in Alabama?
The short answer is, no. Alabama has a population of 5 million which is almost big enough for an NHL market. But, the state is quite close to the Nashville Predators and would take a decent chunk of its market share if Alabama got its own NHL team.
However, the NHL isn’t likely to expand anytime soon since they’ve introduced two expansion teams in the past few years (Vegas Golden Knights and Settle Kraken).
If the NHL were to expand, they would likely pick a bigger market like Houston, Texas, or Quebec City, Quebec.
What NHL Team Does Alabama Root For?
Alabama doesn’t have its own NHL team. However, The Yellowhammer State still has a very active NHL fanbase.
The most popular NHL team for Alabamans is the Nashville Predators. This is primarily due to the fact that the Predators (in Nashville, Tennessee) are the closest geographical NHL team to Alabama, located about 2 hours of a drive away from Alabama’s most populous city, Huntsville.
The second favorite NHL team for Alabamans is the Washington Capitals.
What Hockey Teams Are in Alabama?
So, what hockey teams are in Alabama? The Heart of Dixie has two professional ice hockey teams and some D1 college hockey teams as listed below:
While Alabama has two professional hockey teams, they, unfortunately, don’t have an NHL team.
Alabama doesn’t currently have an American Hockey League (AHL) team. The AHL is a high-level professional sports league just one step below the NHL.
Alabama has two professional ice hockey teams in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). This is a lower-level professional sports league just one step below the ECHL.
What are the names of the Alabama SPHL teams? Birmingham Bulls and Huntsville Havoc.
Where do they play?
The Birmingham Bulls play their home games at Pelham Civic Center located at 500 Amphitheater Rd, Pelham, AL 35124.
The Huntsville Havoc play their home games at Von Braun Center located at 700 Monroe St SW, Huntsville, AL 35801.
D1 College Hockey
While Alabama doesn’t currently have an NHL team, they do have some high-level college hockey. The state has two D1 college hockey teams that compete within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA):
- University of Alabama – Huntsville (NCAA Men’s D1)
- University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa (ACHA Men’s D1)
Alabama (until a few years ago) had one junior ice hockey team.
The Point Mallard Ducks were a Tier III junior ice hockey team that competed in the North American Tier 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). They entered the league as an expansion team for the 2014-15 season. They played between 2014 and 2018 in Decatur, Alabama before being sold and relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin as the Milwaukee Power.
Is There High School Hockey in Alabama?
Yes, there is high school hockey in Alabama. While the Yellowhammer State doesn’t have a single governing body for all high school hockey, they do have individual leagues run within Alabaman cities.
The top high school hockey league in Alabama is called the High School House League. It’s run by the North Alabama Hockey Association (NAHA). The league is sanctioned by USA Hockey and has two teams:
- High School White (Coached by Andrew Glouner)
- High School Red (Coached by Paul Pitcher)
Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023)